Library Subject Guides

Law: United Kingdom

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom consists of four nations: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England and Wales share a judicial system, but Scotland and Northern Ireland are separate jurisdictions. Since 1998 some legislative powers have been devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as they have been recognised as autonomous nations within the UK.

This means that there is legislation from the English Parliament at Westminster, the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies and the Scottish Parliament. Case law emanates from England and Wales jointly and from Scotland and Northern Ireland separately.

Legal Encyclopedia


Finding case law

When you are referred to a case, you will usually be given the citation. This is the formal method of referring to a reported case and will follow a citation convention. The citation includes the names of the parties before the court, the date and often a report series and page number.

To find a cited case, try the following four-step process:

  1. Examine the citation to identify the abbreviation of the law report series.
  2. Determine the full title of the law report series using the Cardiff index to legal abbreviations.
  3. Search for the full title of the law report series using a "Browse Alphabetically: By Title" search in the Library Catalogue.
  4. Locate the law report online or on the shelf in the Central Library.

Finding United Kingdom Cases

If you have the case citation, follow the process above.

The databases below provide access to many United Kingdom cases, including both reported and unreported cases.

You can search by case name, subject, court and judge.


If you cannot find what you need, please contact the Law Subject Librarians – Theresa Buller and John Arnold.

You can: